Cable companies have had to adapt their products with the rise of internet services over the years. They have been offering a bundle of phone, internet, and cable TV services to give customers the best savings, and keep them loyal. Princeton residents actually have a choice between Comcast and FiOS, which gives us competitive pricing. The question is, is it the right choice for every customer?
In this modern age of technology, some of our services have become repetitive. A large number of Americans have a cell phone and home telephone (land line), plus cable TV and a video subscription service, e.g. Netflix, in addition to internet service. Many Princeton residents fall into this category, but there are some who have questioned the tech redundancy in their lives.
Cable TV offers different tiers of stations including major networks, local access, and other premium channels. These tiers are padded with a lot of stations a subscriber might not even watch; therefore, are paying a higher price for what isn’t wanted. Adding a land line seems inexpensive as part of the bundle, but if you additionally have cell service, especially for each member of the household, a land line is an added expense. Older kids and teens with cell phones rarely use the phone app on their mobile device, and usually don’t answer the land line. They mostly text, use apps like SnapChat or Instagram, and Skype or FaceTime. Men mostly stick to cell phone usage, so the landline is mostly for women and younger kids. Is it still worth it to have a land line?
Comcast has a bundle named Triple Play, with prices packages ranging from $100 -$160 per month. FiOS also offers bundles ranging from $80 – $100. If you cut the “cord” from TV and phone services, you have several options. You can rely strictly on you cell phone for a phone service or use a VoIP service in addition, i.e. Skype.
As for TV services, the first option to consider is to buy a digital master antenna. This is a one time charge with no monthly subscription. It’s a digital version of the pre-cable analog antenna when television was free. But keep in mind, the content reflects that era. Major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, and PBS, plus Bloomberg, Vevo, and some many unpopular channels. There are both indoor and outdoor models. You can even use it with a DVR. Channel Master is a popular brand that has been in business since 1949, and can be purchased locally and online.
Option 2 is streaming content via internet on your computer, Smart TV, or with the use of a set-top box like Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku, et. al. The best part is, you can order a la carte to fine tune your viewing preferences.
- Sling TV – $20/month will get you live TV, and some shows on demand. You can watch them on your TV via Roku, Fire TV, XBOX One, and Chrome TV, on your Mac or PC, or on iOS, Android or Amazon Fire portable devices. The channels you receive depend on your area. For $5 – $15/month you can add on channels for kids, sports, movies, etc.
- Hulu – For only $8/month and you get access to some movies and many TV shows (all previous and current seasons, and the latest episode is available the day after it airs on broadcast). You must subscribe to CBS All Access to watch CBS shows.
- Crackle – This is a free service that has a library of older movies and TV shows.
- HBO NOW – Standalone streaming service for $15/month. Pricier than Hulu, but a must if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, Girls or any other HBO original series. Of course, they show movies in addition to their original content.
- SHOWTIME Now – This is for fans of Homeland, Masters of Sex, and other Showtime original series. The standalone streaming service cost $11/month, but Hulu subscribers get the discounted price of $9/month. This is along with their large selection of movies.
- CBS All Access – CBS All Access for $6/month. This is not a deal compared to all the content you get on Hulu, but the two combined with internet service are still cheaper than cable or satellite. You can add Showtime for an additional $9/month.
- Cinemax – You can watch this through Sling TV for an extra $10/month.
- Amazon Prime Video – Watch Amazon Studios original content like Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, and Bosch, plus others, and a decent library of TV shows and movies, included with you Amazon Prime account.
- Netflix – House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Marco Polo, Fuller House, and more original content, along with a massive library of TV shows and movies is available.
- Noggin – Has hundreds of episodes of pre-school friendly programming, e.g. Little Bear, Franklin, The Backyardigans, Blue’s Clues, Ni Hao Kai-Lin, and more.
- ESPN – Is available through Sling TV.
- Sports – Click the link for options without cable.
- Redbox – It’s excellent for renting newly released and more current DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
- Princeton Public Library – It’s a valuable source for borrowing fee-based DVDs and Blu-ray discs, and the Hoopla app for streaming older free TV shows and movies including Disney films.